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U.S., Chinese experts comment on Hu's upcoming visit

BEIJING, Jan. 14 (Xinhua) -- A number of Chinese and American experts on China-U.S. relations have shared their views with Xinhua on the upcoming visit by Chinese President Hu Jintao to the United States next week.

The state visit, scheduled for Jan. 18-21, will mark the beginning of high-level political exchanges between the two countries in the second decade of the millennium. It is also the 40th year since the two countries reopened relations in 1971.


Qu Xing, Director of China Institute of International Studies, said as China-U.S. relations have gone through twists and turns since President Barack Obama took office, leaders of both countries felt the need to meet again and set a framework of bilateral relations for the next decade. This includes how to resolve the gap between the two countries on specific issues and how to stablize bilateral relations.

Jia Qingguo, deputy director of the School of International Studies at Peking University, told Xinhua that President Hu Jintao's visit to the United States has significant importance, partly because high-level political exchanges between the two nations have always been a useful way to improve cooperation. Hu's visit will help Beijing and Washington exchange opinions on key regional and international issues.

Stephen Orlins, president of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, said: "It is very important that President Hu comes to the United States, to have meetings with President (Barack) Obama, leaders on Capitol Hill, business people, and to address directly the American people. All of those will lead to better understanding and less mistrust."

David Lampton, director of China Studies of the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, said: "I believe it is very important for President Hu to come. It is very important, from my point of view. The principal objective should be to increase mutual trust. And that would be the biggest positive outcome of this trip. That would make it worthwhile."

Lampton said President Hu's visit was very significant in a number of aspects. "Maybe most importantly it signals that even our relationship has ups and downs, ...we both recognize we have interests that we need to keep this relationship in a good working order."


Jia Qingguo said: "On the one hand, China-U.S. relations are deepening and expanding. In key fields such as trade and economy, new energy research and development, much progress has been made. High-level strategic talks have been frequently held amid increased political exchanges between the two countries. Communication on the military side is also picking up."

"On the other hand, however, challenges and conflicts still exist. For instance, U.S. arms sales to Taiwan have caused frictions in bilateral relaions. Despite China's strong opposition, President Obama met with the Dalai Lama earlier last year. On trade and economy, Washington has tried incessantly to pressure China into appreciating the yuan, mostly as a result of its domestic politics. The U.S. government has also imposed trade barriers on some of China's exports, holding on to a protectionist mentality. Overall, China and the United States have seen both cooperation and conflicts."

Wu Baiyi, a professor at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said: "There are several ways to look at China-U.S. relations. First, the United States is seeing a growing China. In 2010, the total U.S. economic output was 2.6 times than that of China. The gap is expected to shorten in the coming years. In 2020, China's GDP is estimated to hit 22 trillion U.S. dollars. But as to technology and military, the United States certainly has a greater advantage over China."

"Second, the operational mechanism of China-U.S. relations has not seen much change over the years."

"Third, there is a growing number of third-party factors, such as those that have been complicating the situation around China since 2010."

"The last point is globalization. We can't ignore that China-U.S. relations are set in a global framework," he said.

Peng Guangqian, a military expert, said: "China and the United States have a number of disagreements, some on specific issues, and some on long-term conceptual issues. The two countries still have a long way to go to get back on a healthy track of bilateral relations. At present, the main obstacle is lack of mutual trust between the two nations. The responsibility does not lie with China. It lies with the United States, which has not yet given up its outdated Cold War mentality and behavior. This has harmed healthy development of China-U.S. relations. We must make great efforts on both sides to get back on track."

Stephen Orlins told Xinhua: "China will become more integrated into the U.S. strategy in a positive way. The threat to the United States and to China is really fundamentally the same, such as terrorism, economic crises, global warming, etc. Both countries should be working on institutions and rules to protect both of us against the threat."

Former U.S. Ambassador to China Stapleton Roy told Xinhua: "The relationship between China and the United States over the past two years has continued to be a very vigorous one, with engagement at all levels."

"The economic relationship has continued to be very active, even though both countries were affected by the global downturn. Our exports to China declined less than our exports to other markets. And our imports from China have continued."

Roy said the two countries had also been cooperating in other areas and on many issues, including very difficult issues, such as nuclear issues in Iran and on the Korean Peninsula.


Peng said: "For sure, growing mutual trust and more consensus between China and the United States will have great positive influence on the regional security of the Asia Pacific, as well as a number of heated issues beyond the region."

"This relies on Washington's attitude toward China, in terms of whether it genuinely respects China's rights, whether it can give China's rapid growth equal treatment, and whether it will give up its hegemonic and Cold War mentality, and treat each member of the international community equally," he said.

Orlins said in the interview: "It is necessary we have a positive meeting between President Hu and President Obama, but that is not sufficient for positive relations. Both countries need to adopt policies to maintain the positive direction of reaching agreement."

"I hope they agree to meet again in 2012 ... I think they should meet as often as they possibly can," he said.

Lampton told Xinhua: "It is easier to build mutual trust when everyone realizes we have mutual interest. So the best way to build mutual trust is to build on our mutual interests."

"The single biggest thing China could do would be to begin to use its investment resources not just as financial instruments but as employment-generating investment in the United States."

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